Govt orders heads to suspend absent teachers

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has ordered school heads to suspend all teachers who failed to report for duty when schools opened, Monday.  

This ‘threat’ comes after teachers started their pay strike citing incapacitation forcing learners to go back home.

The ministry said the industrial action is unwarranted and punishable while talks between teacher unions and the government through the National Joint Negotiating Committee (NJNC) meeting collapsed last month without a concrete agreement.

In a circular to all provincial education directors, district school inspectors, heads of primary and secondary schools, Permanent Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education, Tumisang Thabela, confirmed some teachers did not report for duty.

“It has come to the attention of the Permanent Secretary of Primary and Secondary Education that some did not report for duty when schools opened on February 7 2022, as per the 2022 school calendar. This unwarranted conduct deprived learners of their right to education as enshrined in Section 75 and 81 of the constitution of Zimbabwe,” she said.

Thabela said failure to report for duty and teach children was violating the constitutional rights of learners and directed these offices to take urgent disciplinary action against teachers who did not attend lessons.

“Accordingly. Heads of Offices should take urgent disciplinary action against any of their members who obstructed the opening of schools and deprived learners of their constitutional rights. Where necessary, Heads of Offices should charge and suspend such members at the school, district, provincial or national level and make sure that all due processes are followed as per Public Service Regulations 2000 as amended,” said the permanent secretary.

The permanent secretary also directed provincial education directors to provide a daily update on progress in the handling of these disciplinary cases in their respective provinces.

“Officials are reminded that the principle of “no work, no pay” shall apply where members failed to render their services,” Thabela said.

This circular was also copied to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and her deputy, Permanent Secretary for the Public Service Commission, Chief Director Human Resources Development including the Acting Chief Director for Primary, Secondary and Non-Formal Education.

Teachers are demanding at least US$540 which was what the earned pre-October 2018.

Looking at the parallel black market foreign currency exchange rate, teachers are earning less than US$200.

Teacher unions such as the Zimbabwe National Teachers’ Union (ZINATU), Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) programs and Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) have maintained that their position is clear and will stay pot until their salary concerns are addressed.

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